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“In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls. In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice.”

Mother Teresa

Today’s modern world is filled with ambient noise.  Living in the city, silence gets disrupted by transport vehicles and machines.  Perhaps this is the reason why we long to relax and commune with nature once in a while – listening to flowing rivers, chirping birds, or simply immersing oneself under the pale moonlight.  We deliberately seek peace and quiet to regenerate our souls and preserve our sanity.

Silence gives us a new outlook on the things around us.  When we are busy, we fail to listen to our souls, in the pursuit of our personal interests.  It is only when we are forced to slow down due to illness, injury, or fatigue that we realize the need to spend time alone or with significant others.  As a hospice and palliative care practitioner, I have yet to see a dying person who longs to be placed in a working environnment.  At all times, they desire to be with friends and family, people who matter most, with quiet and peaceful surroundings.

According to Margaret Halsey, an American writer who passed away in a nursing home, some people talk because they think sound is more manageable than silence.  When we are with friends, it seems awkward to have silent moments where no one is talking.  When counseling patients, doctors may feel compelled to speak their mind out, fearing that silence may be a sign of indecisiveness.  This is in contrast to the ideas of Helen Keller, who was both deaf and blind.  She thought it would be a blessing if each person could be blind and deaf for a few days during their lifetime. Darkness would make people appreciate sight, while silence would teach man the joys of sound.

Silence is the language of the heart.  When we are angry, we tend to shout to drive home an important point.  But when we are with someone we love, we speak in hushed tones, and no words can describe the loving feeling within us.  When life-changing ideas come to us, they are usually during our silent moments when our minds relax and our feelings take over.  When we hold hands, no words are exchanged, but affection is communicated through silence.

We hear so many words without understanding.  We speak so many things without listening.  We let life pass us by without communing with that small, still voice of wisdom.  It is high time that we seek true intimacy.  Let’s be comfortable with silence.


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